Recent VTA ads in Palo Alto newspapers make it sound as though they are streamlining Palo Alto bus service to make it better. Actually, they are proposing to cut overall service in Palo Alto by about $1 million and to transfer those dollars to other cities in the county.
VTA points to the few improvements they have made but fail to mention the significant reductions in service that the latest proposal would put in place. Lines 88, 35, Express 101 and Express 104 all will be affected by cuts or reductions. Contrary to VTA implications, there are no additional Palo Alto Shuttle resources available to replace this service.
VTA officials promise to expedite a comprehensive review of Palo Alto's transit resources. In the meantime, however, they are putting forward a revised proposal that allocates dollars that would have been spent in Palo Alto to other cities.
Please join me in asking the VTA Board to postpone making any decision regarding Palo Alto line reductions until after the promised study of shuttle and community bus service is complete.
The VTA board meets August 30, 5:30 p.m., Board of Supervisor's Chambers, County Government Center, 70 West Hedding St., San Jose.
513 El Capitan Place, Palo Alto
VTA still cutting
VTA heard the packed audience at Lucie Stern Community Center and took partial measures. Service on the 88 bus was restored along Charleston, but the bus still goes to the infrequently served Mountain View Caltrain station rather than the University Avenue station.
One morning bus and one afternoon bus along Louis Road will serve Gunn High School. That means a Gunn student who stays after school to use the library, receive tutoring or play sports won't be able to take the bus home.
VTA will consider shuttle and community bus service in Palo Alto but only after cutting the budget available by $1 million.
Current transit riders will find other ways to travel when the 88 bus is cut while the issue is "studied."
VTA's COA presentation said that community bus lines should be viewed as "placeholders for resources." So VTA's "cut first" approach severely limits the potential outcomes of the study.
For comparison, the Palo Alto Shuttle carries about 175,000 passengers per year at a total cost of about $500,000, of which two-thirds is paid by the Palo Alto General Fund. And about $20 million of VTA's funding comes from sales tax from sales within Palo Alto.
The VTA Board will decide on Thursday, Aug. 30 at 5:30 p.m. There is still time to send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or speak in person.
Arthur M. Keller
Planning and Transportation Commission, Palo Alto
The August 23 special session of the Architectural Review Board was inspiring.
There were two scenarios presented for the new public safety building on Park Boulevard, dependent on whether one or two parcels are available. There were also two scenarios presented for the new Mitchell Park Library, dependent on whether the community center is also rebuilt.
I was particularly thrilled to see the plans for a new Mitchell Park Library, which is so desperately needed. A lovely heritage oak will be preserved in a courtyard setting which could provide space for small theater programs, weddings and other activities currently unavailable in south Palo Alto.
An emphasis on indoor/outdoor access is present in many of the spaces, including the children's programming area. A small café is an option, enhancing the space's ability to be a destination.
Of course, the traffic flow is improved and pedestrian and bicyclist safety is better in the new plan than in the existing facilities. Plus, the tennis courts stay where they are and there is no underground parking at all.
It's clear that the city took the lessons of 2002 to heart and has created a reasonable plan that provides the services we need in a wonderful setting.
Ross Road, Palo Alto